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Italian Wins Through On Day Two At Grand Prix

Italian Wins Through On Day Two At Grand Prix

Patience was the winner on the second day of the New Zealand Gliding Grand Prix with pilots waiting several hours for favourable soaring conditions to develop. The race finally started at 3.30pm with a modified task that took in some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery.

The task was altered to take into account the good soaring conditions in the Lake Wanaka/ Mt Aspiring area with Mt Aspiring acting as the second turnpoint. The third turnpoint was brought south from the Mt Cook area due to cloud cover to the eastern arm of Lake Ohau before returning to Omarama airfield.

Despite his lack of local knowledge of the terrain, Giorgio Galetto (ITA) took first place in a time of 2:27.54, one minute ahead of world champion John Coutts (NZE). Third place went to Ben Flewett (NZE) in 2:30.50.

“The second leg of the task was very difficult,” Galetto said. “The air was very dry with no cumulus and it was vital to stay high. Crossing the valleys was hard and it was made extra challenging as I had no knowledge of the landscape. The third leg flying from Mt Aspiring to the Dingle was fantastic, flying ridges at high speed, really pushing the aircraft but always with a finger on the map as I didn’t know what was around the next corner!”

Galetto attributes part of his success to discovering a high pass a few kilometres before the last turnpoint that he could cross as he had such good height while watching the rest of the field below him having to take the long way round.

USA pilot, David Mockler, was not so fortunate, landing out at Wanaka Airport after rounding the Mount Aspiring turnpoint. He was retrieved by tow plane returning to Omarama in the late evening.

The general public can witness the thrill of Grand Prix racing this weekend (27-29 January) when the races will be displayed on a giant screen using the latest helicopter filming technology and graphics from Animation Research of
America’s Cup fame. For further information and tickets visit


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